Dalriada School is a mixed voluntary grammar school in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland The school draws its pupils from a wide geographical area and a range of social, religious and cultural backgrounds. Students of Dalriada School are known as Dalriads and former pupils, Old Dalriads.
A special pageant-play called Dalriada written and produced by the English master, Mr G.E. Gordon, later Headmaster, was the inspiration for the school’s present name. The name came from the kingdom of Dalriada, which had its royal seat in nearby Dunseverick. It was also at this time that Dr Ross, Headmaster since 1931, gave the school its motto “Labor sine cura, labor sine fructu” (work without effort is work without gain). He also re-established a Preparatory Department.
The school grew quickly, with a building extension under Mr Edmund Gordon, Headmaster from 1948 (following the sudden death of Dr Ross). Several new facilities were opened in 1969, followed by the addition of six English classrooms and an open-plan Art Department. It was under Mr Gordon that the school began its annual Shakespearean plays, which he produced. Mr Gordon also composed the school song “O Dalriadan Land” which is rendered by pupils at major formal school events.
As pupil numbers increased, the facilities have continued to expand.
Dalriada offers both music and drama. The school's four choirs (Junior Choir, Intermediate Choir, Senior Choir and the more exclusive invitation-only Chamber Choir) practice frequently and have both male and female members. The choirs perform at several school concerts throughout the year, and attend various competitions as well. Drama is practiced at lunch time, and after school, if a pupil chooses to pursue.
Dalriada also has an orchestra, string group and wind band. There are many smaller music groups, including the Irish Traditional Groups, a Dixieland Band, a Jazz Quartet and several other small groups.
The school holds several concerts, including the "Evening of Music", where each choir and musical ensemble prepare a collection of songs, and the Christmas Concert.
Dalriada has traditionally staged an annual Shakespearean production. This has been altered to include modern plays bi-annually, and they have also incorporated musicals into the Dalriada production schedule. The school originally alternated musicals and plays but over the past few years they have had a run of musicals continuing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Hockey is the compulsory sport for girls at the school. Rugby and Hockey are the main school sports, but several other sports are offered in two additional periods of PE each week.
Inter-house sports offer competition within the school. Each student belongs to one of five houses (Ross, Armour, Reynolds, Gordon and Calvert) and competes to defend the name of their house.